WebMD tells me I'm heat sick
by Morgan Florsheim
That summer, God lived upstairs
from me, in a room with another
bearded dragon and two ferrets,
although we were not allowed
to have pets. You lived down the
street in a house with five wooden
salamanders affixed above the door.
Everywhere I went, seeds of sweat slid
off my skin to sow on barren
sidewalk. It was a summer in which
the need to cool down eclipsed
all other desires, the kind of summer
which makes one wish to sleep alone.
Each evening seemed to stretch on endlessly
as we draped ourselves over couches
and each other, all of the windows
open, waiting desperately
for the heat to break, for something
to change. You were always telling
me—with words that slithered easily
from your tongue, with gentle hands
that glissaded down the question mark
of my body—that you were sure
the world was bad and I
was good. I wasn’t sure of anything.
I wanted that certainty molasses
-thick in my veins, hoped it would pass
from your mouth to mine on some unholy
night under a bruised Providence sky.
It never did, not even when you whispered
you loved me and I nodded, sure
only that you would change your mind.
The moment spilled out slow—like
oil into water: colorful and glittering and
so very wrong. The figs scattered
across the earth of my brain
began to rot, that sweetest
stench of the promised-land heavy in my
nostrils until I knelt close enough to see
the insects making a home in their flesh.
At some much later hour, we
peeled ourselves from our chairs and
wandered to my room, together and alone,
where we cast aside covers and doubts
in favor of tomorrow, and dreamed
of snowflakes and frostbite and the slow march of glaciers.
Morgan Florsheim is a writer and urban planning graduate student currently living in Somerville, MA. Lately she has been thinking a lot about societal beauty standards, climate change, and whether or not her bruised toenail will fall off. You can find more of her literary writing in Bending Genres, Entropy, and The Baltimore Review, among others.